Commish HQ: Dear Santa, Can You Deliver These Fantasy Gifts?

By Reginald James
Reginald James

Dear Santa,


It’s that time of year again, and I’m back with another wish list. I’ve been good this year for the most part, and I’m sure you’ll give me a pass on some of the naughty-ish episodes that went down, yes? I’m crossing my fingers. Folks like to say this is the season for giving, so instead of asking for things for myself, I’ll stick to the script. I come to you asking that you bestow three gifts upon my fellow fantasy football commissioners, and please include those who are looking to jump in next year.



1) What makes what I do fun, Santa, is that there is a never-ending supply of new commissioners and I love helping them. Every season there is someone who tries to run a league for the first time. I’ve said it before, I have a bias for the new commissioner. I look forward to their questions. I am always glad if I feel I’ve helped them in some way, as they set off on their maiden voyage into the realm of fantasy football.


One of the easiest rule settings any commissioner can choose to have for their league, is fractional scoring. Fractional scoring almost ensures that there won’t be any ties among the weekly games. There will almost always surely be a winner. Ties will be rare, and greatly reducing their likelihood with one click of a mouse, is good for the whole league. Fantasy players tend to hate ties. In leagues with a playoff, you really don’t want to see a tie when that time comes. By the way Santa, if you ever decide to run a fantasy football league, make sure you have your order of tie-breakers set, or be familiar with what they are if you’re deferring to the platform’s tie-breaking rules. This is a scoring setup that’s an easy win for everyone involved.



2) So Santa, time this year we always hear stories in the fantasy world about managers with the best records in the league getting knocked off by a team that barely made it into the league playoff. We hear league grumblings about managers still using the waiver wire because they still want to compete, and are being allowed to do so, even though they are not in the playoff. Other folks in the league will have a problem with that.


If people love playing fantasy football so much, why do some commissioners set up a system where they cut the season off early by three to four weeks for most of the league?


All of this angst is quite unnecessary, Santa. There is another way. Commissioners could set the league up where the winner is the league member who manages a team that accumulates the best win-loss record. How well can you manage a team through bye weeks, injuries, suspensions, hot streaks, cold streaks, all the way to the end of the season?


Commissioners can choose to have money slots for the top three finishers. Commissioners can have a year-end bonus for the player whose team has the highest points scored for the season. It’s not always the team with the best record. Often teams who would be out of playoff contention otherwise, who are in fifth, sixth, even seventh place, would still have a shot at the third-place money slot, and no one gives them grief for, well, still wanting to play. Imagine that.


Fantasy players like to boast about how they like the competition, but so many willfully play in leagues that undercut the enjoyment of a full NFL season for a major portion of the managers involved. Each to its own, right Santa? I’m not sure if some folks have ever really stopped to think about the alternative. That’s my wish for new commissioners.


3) I asked you to gift commissioners with a ”No Pay, No Play” policy last year. I’m doing it again. Every season, I get letters and DMs from commissioners who don’t collect their league dues before the draft. They don’t make receiving the pool money as a requirement to draft. The season begins with everyone excited. They all believe they have a shot to win the championship. Weeks pass, the commissioner still hasn’t collected all of the dues, and sometimes the folks who owe are the same ones whose season isn’t working out like they wanted. They lose the incentive to pay their money because they feel they’re not going to get any of it back anyway. Eventually, these folks are the hardest ones to get money from.


This is just one scenario of many, Santa, in which commissioners will find themselves. It really doesn’t have to be that way. Commissioners should decide months ahead of time when the draft is going to be. People plan for vacations, birthday parties, weddings, and all kinds of other events. Commissioners need to stop announcing drafts two weeks ahead of time, and give league members the opportunity to plan for it, just like they do with the other moments in their lives.


Most importantly, league managers need to know ahead of time that if they don’t pay the league fee by a certain date, they don’t get to draft. No exceptions. All of the hand wringing that some commissioners go through will be over. I guess I’ll get less emails on this topic, but I can live with that.


Hating to collect pool money is at top of the list for many commissioners, but in my opinion, this is a self-inflicted aggravation that can be easily quelled by establishing the No Pay, No Play policy.


That’s it Santa, I’m not going to be greedy. Let’s see what happens next year. Hit me up if you ever need any advice should you and the elves decide to go at it in your own league. There will always be a line open for you.





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